* CBS 2…
Illinois drivers have forked over an astounding $1 billion in red light camera fines in the past 10 years, according to a new study, and now some lawmakers in Springfield are reviving a push to ban red light cameras. […]
A ban would leave Chicago and many suburbs with significant budget holes. For example, in west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, a peek at finances shows a 2000% increase in fines collected the year red light cameras were installed at the intersection of Route 83 and 22nd Street. […]
The two cameras in Oakbrook Terrace raked in $5.4 million in one fiscal year. That’s 54,000 drivers zapped at one intersection, an average of more than 147 a day. […]
Chicago is the biggest beneficiary from red light cameras in Illinois, taking in $56 million in fines last year alone.
The Illinois Policy Institute study is here…
The annual haul from red-light camera tickets statewide has more than doubled over the decade, with local governments collecting more than $113.2 million in 2018 compared with $53.5 million in 2008.
Red-light camera revenue outside Chicago city limits drove almost all of that increase, with $56.6 million generated in 2018 compared with $5.4 million in 2008. […]
Although the number of cameras statewide has remained relatively flat since 2010, each camera on average is generating more revenue than ever. Revenue per camera in 2018 was more than $185,600, compared with less than $150,000 in 2014, when the number of red-light cameras in Illinois was at its highest.
* Here’s more on Oakbrook Terrace…
Oakbrook Terrace obtained its cameras after state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, lobbied the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, to allow SafeSpeed to operate cameras in the city, even though the need for a camera had dropped significantly, according to a 2017 Chicago Tribune report.
IDOT had previously rejected red-light camera requests from Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci, for whom SafeSpeed has long been a top political donor. But the agency repeatedly found the intersections to be sufficiently safe. IDOT reversed its denial and approved the camera installations at Sandoval’s request, two months after the senator received a political contribution from SafeSpeed.
A year after IDOT reversed its decision on the Oakbrook Terrace cameras, Sandoval received the largest political donation in SafeSpeed’s history, $10,000. SafeSpeed investor Omar Maani gave Sandoval $5,000 around the same time, according to the Tribune, on top of a $10,000 contribution from SafeSpeed parent company Triad Consulting, where Maani is a principal.
SafeSpeed is mentioned in the federal search warrant delivered to Sen. Sandoval’s Statehouse office. Maani was reportedly the subject of federal investigators’ questioning of Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski’s chief of staff.
* That Tribune report is here…
In its 2015 application, Safespeed’s latest study cited half the violations as the 2013 one. Yet the suburb and Safespeed had something else that year: endorsements from lawmakers who received campaign cash from Safespeed.
One was from Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, who by 2015 had received $3,000 from firms tied to Safespeed’s owner.
He wrote a letter to John Fortmann — the top local IDOT official at the time — to “introduce” Fortmann to Safespeed and ask IDOT to approve the application. The need for such an introduction is unclear because, by then, Fortmann’s office for years had been working with Safespeed.
Records show another appeal came the very day the 2015 application was submitted to IDOT, from a more powerful senator: Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero.
Oakbrook Terrace is in Tom Cullerton’s district. Sen. Cullerton was indicted earlier this year on several federal counts. Something most haven’t noted yet is that his August 2019 indictment was issued by “The Special December 2017 Grand Jury.”